January 17, 2016

THE LEFT'S WAR ON SCIENCE:

The Biggest Dinosaur In History May Never Have Existed (DAVID GOLDENBERG, 1/11/16, 538)

This week, the American Museum of Natural History in New York will unveil its newest exhibit to the press: the skeleton of a huge plant-eating sauropod that many paleontologists think is the largest dinosaur ever discovered. The animal is new enough that it doesn't yet have a proper scientific name -- it's being called Titanosaur for now. It is 122 feet long and 19 feet high at the midpoint of its back, a specimen so big that its head will peek out of the great hall of the Wallach Orientation Center and into the elevator bank on the fourth floor. Its dorsal vertebrae will brush the lofty ceiling.

But in the museum's files is buried a description of a vertebra for a dinosaur that would have been 55 percent longer than the Titanosaur -- and bigger than any animal ever known. The only problem: The vertebra described has been missing for more than 100 years, and many people think that it may never have existed at all, or at least not as it was described in the first place.

The missing dinosaur is known as Amphicoelias fragillimus, and the only recorded evidence of its existence -- a piece of vertebra1 measuring almost 5 feet tall -- is said to have been dug up just outside of CaƱon City, a small town in central Colorado that for a few short years in the late 1800s was the dinosaur capital of the world. Along with dozens of bones from other dinosaurs, the partial vertebra is listed on the manifest of a freight train that went to Philadelphia, where it was first described and sketched in a paper by famed paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. Around the time of Cope's death in 1897, the Amphicoelias bone is said to have been sent with the rest of his massive collection to the American Museum of Natural History, where it was received and catalogued as FR 5777: "Amphicoelias fragillimus, Holotype."

But when museum President Henry Osborn and his colleague Charles Mook finally got around to analyzing the collection more than two decades later, there was no Amphicoelias bone to catalog. 

One more make believe dinosaur story hardly matters.  Even funnier was the story this week that paleontologists now claim they engaged in mating dances.

Posted by at January 17, 2016 2:40 PM

  

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